Privilege


There is a link to a blog going around on Facebook called Hearing Privilege. It is about a year old, but still worth the read.

Probably the most salient point from it is:  Hearing privilege can be best explained quickly by saying it’s similar to the concept of white privilege. In a nutshell, white privilege is “a way of conceptualizing racial inequalities that focuses as much on the advantages that white people accrue from society as on the disadvantages that people of color experience.” (Wikipedia) It’s different than racism and prejudice; racism and prejudice are essentially when a dominant group actively seeks to oppress or suppress other racial groups for its own advantage. It is a privileged position; the possession of an advantage white persons enjoy over non-white persons.

It should be noted, though, that privilege comes in lots of shapes and sizes.  It is not something just the deaf experience.

It is pretty much an “I’m normal, you’re not” sort of thing.  The DeafBlind find themselves at a disadvantage with the deaf, the blind, and the fully hearing and fully sighted.  The blind experience sighted privilege.  Paraplegics experience able-bodied privilege, as do quadriplegics. People with intellectual disabilities, people with cerebral palsy who appear to have intellectual disabilities, and so on and so forth.

This is something to simply think about. If you are with a deaf person, do you answer for them without being asked to do so? It’s certainly easy enough to fall into that trap.

It is important to remember that everyone wants to be treated like a competent person.  Are we inclusive in our dealings with others?  You might be surprised.  Watch and see what you do.  Do you ever finish a sentence for someone?  Exclude someone from a conversation? Make a choice that is not yours to make?

 

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